The EPA Denies Petition Seeking Emergency Suspension of Clothianidin and Releases Petition for Public Review

The EPA is denying a petition requesting emergency suspension of clothianidin based on imminent hazard. The agency will, however, be taking comment  from the public for 60 days on the petition’s request for cancellation of clothianidin. The agency received the petition from a group of beekeepers, Beyond Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network of North America and others on March 20, 2012. The petition alleges that clothianidin poses an “imminent hazard,” requiring swift regulatory action to protect bees. After considering the petition and the supporting information, the EPA is denying the request to suspend clothianidin use because the petition fails to show that an imminent hazard to bees exists.  Under the FIFRA standard, suspension is appropriate only if there exists a substantial likelihood of serious, imminent harm. Having reviewed the petition and supporting information, the EPA does not believe there is a substantial likelihood of imminent serious harm from the use of clothianidin. Specifically, the EPA does not believe the petition demonstrates that the use of clothianidin is causing or will cause:

  • significant reduction in populations of domestic bees or native pollinators,
  • significant decreases in honey production,
  • serious effects on other agricultural systems as a result of decreases in pollination services or
  • a reduction in pollination of wild plants in a way that may alter ecosystems. 

EPA is continuing its comprehensive scientific evaluation on all the neonicotinoid pesticides, including clothianidin. This extensive review will determine if any restrictions are necessary to protect people, the environment, or pollinators.  Also, in September, EPA will seek independent scientific peer review on how to better assess the risks of pesticides to pollinators.  This effort will improve our understanding and strengthen the scientific and regulatory process to protect honey bees and other pollinators.

The EPA’s response denying the petition is available at under docket EPA HQ-OPP-2012-0334.

A Federal Register notice next week will open a 60-day comment period on the remaining issues in the petition. The EPA will respond to the entirety of the petition at a later date after it has obtained and reviewed any public comments.

In the same Federal Register notice, the EPA will announce the availability of the final work plan for clothianidin’s re-evaluation under Registration Review and its response to comments received during the initial public comment period for the registration review of clothianidin.